The British Ministry of Defence is inviting proposals to develop a prototype of high-power laser directed energy weapon; the announcement was made in press release on Wednesday.
The meeting of potential suppliers for the development, called the Laser Directed Energy Weapon Capability Demonstrator, will be organized by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which will be managing the estimated £100 million project. The event is scheduled for 15 April in Portsdown West, UK.
The aim of the Laser Directed Energy Weapon Capability Demonstrator is to enhance the UK’s understanding of the capability of a laser based weapon system. The project will consist of system studies and hardware trials, culminating in a number of practical demonstrations.
In order to be considered, interested parties have to demonstrate the ability to detect, acquire and track targets at range and in varying weather conditions, with sufficient precision. Besides, demonstrations will also need to establish the ability to generate and precisely control a high energy laser.
The demonstration also includes the control of the irradiance of the laser, the ability to manage the power and cooling demands whilst enabling operation of the laser over extended period of time and the control requirements and, in particular, managing the risks such that the lasers are safe to operate.
The contracting authority said that it initially anticipates that a single contract will be awarded, but it also acknowledges that “a broad range of capabilities is required to meet this research requirement, so it is not expected that a single supplier would be able to fulfil this requirement in its entirety.